Thread Number: 72120  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Wow. Kirby and Flair
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Post# 953756   8/20/2017 at 22:40 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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What an interesting weekend. Got the doors balanced on the 1963/4 Custom Imperial Flair. Got the burner control ordered for the missing one - and it's still in production!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or, at least, still available as a current product, not NOS.

Lots of cleaning and re-lettering to do, still - but she works.


And, for the princely sum of $4.00 (FOUR SMACKAROONIES!) I picked up, in perfect condition, a Kirby Ultimate G Diamond Edition.


Seriously. Last day of a garage sale. Bought it from a child. Asked to see her mom or dad when she told me $4.00. Figured she was off by a factor of ten or one-hundred. But, no - this was the end, they were leaving town after the eclipse and everything that hadn't sold was going to Goodwill.


Wow! Woo-hee!


This was the Kirby which had the best (still) filtration, the two-speed motor selection button, the 'improved' brushrole/head (yeah, jury's still out on that one in my book) and the genuinely improved (not that that would have been the least bit difficult) transmission which no longer does the bump and grind over stuff like Berbers and low-pile wool.


Totally impressed. Almost as good a vacuum as the Dual Sanatronic 50/80, in my humble opinion. Maybe as good (pert near) as the 51 we have.



Post# 953775 , Reply# 1   8/21/2017 at 02:37 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        
I have a G5

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And wouldn't trade it for anything.  I bought my mother one too.  Also have an old blue Tradition that I restored and polished a few years ago (it cleans better) but doesn't have self propulsion.  I've always wanted to try a Royal side by side with a Kirby.

Post# 953792 , Reply# 2   8/21/2017 at 08:08 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I have tried royal and kirby

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side by side and it's very hard to say one is 'better' than the other. The Kirby gets more in any single pass, the Royal makes a bigger, more dramatic scene. In truth, though - any 1950s Royal, Kirby, Hoover Model 65 will clean rings around a Dyson or any of the other cheap plastic trash on the market today. Goodness, even the humble Hoover/Guardsman 'A' fill models made today with HEPA will outclean them. There is just no way around it - having the suction on one side of the nozzle instead of full airflow across the entire surface makes too big of a difference to be overcome. Goodness, that was the Dial-A-Matic's greatest weakness, despite one of the best motors ever.

Post# 953793 , Reply# 3   8/21/2017 at 08:12 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Tradition/Heritage better cleaning

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There are actual tests backing up that statement, too. I agree, Kirby really hit all the targets with those. I'm not in love with self drive, though this one I was just given for $4 sure makes a strong argument.

Post# 953943 , Reply# 4   8/22/2017 at 00:08 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Kirby is my "go to" for clean.  I've got a number of them, keep one on each floor, pain to carry them up and down stairs.  I've got an Omega I use when I'm dealing with new carpet, the bag fills quickly with lint and fiber and is easy to deal with as it's not a disposable bag- that would require 3, 4 or 5 expensive bags.  G5 is my current unit, got it at GW for $40 with every attachment, video and original receipt.  I have a sad G5 that has been put through who knows what that I have been using at the house I'm flipping, it does a good job just looks terrible- needs a good polishing.


Got a small collection of Dial-a- Matics a couple with power drive, one I bought just so I'd know what size belt to get for the other power drive that was missing the belt.


Have one question regarding Kirby's - sort of..  Bought a box of attachments a while back, have never used them as they smell musty.  Any idea how to remove the odor from things and especially the hose, it kind of reeks.

Post# 953946 , Reply# 5   8/22/2017 at 00:41 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Mention this a lot on the neighboring vacuum forum-for the most part my Kirbys are the go to vacuum cleaner-best yet for WW carpets.Royals are a close second.BOTH are GREAT machines.The Royal and Kirby-not so good as "canisters"ANY canister will outdo them for hose and attachment work.One time made a "monster" vac by using my Kirby Avalir as a "powernozzle" with my MD central vac unit!AWSOME!!!Its cumbersome-but does work.I have a couple of Dysons in my collection----they came from the Kirby trade in pile in the salesmans van.The Kirbys-any of them will outdo the Dyson and last longer!Same with Royal.One of my Dysons REEKED of doggy smell-had to take it all apart and run the parts thru the dishwasher to get rid of the smell.The plastic absorbs it-and the cyclones get caked with doggy oils.

Post# 953952 , Reply# 6   8/22/2017 at 01:16 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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If the hose is plastic/rubber I'd just squirt some 409 or Lysol in it, add some water and swish it around.  Then rinse and hang outside to drain and dry.  I have a friend who used to stick everything in an old dishwasher!  I have an old shake out bag from my Tradition that I need to clean out.  I switched it to disposable after I got it because of the HEPA bags.

Post# 953977 , Reply# 7   8/22/2017 at 07:57 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
A thorough cleaning usually kills the musty odor

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And hot water down the hose does it, too. Unbelievable how much icky stuff come out.

Dry it using the blower part of the vacuum.

I put attachments in the dishwasher after making absolutely sure the heat is off. We use 125F water at the tap, so that's plenty.

Post# 953980 , Reply# 8   8/22/2017 at 08:19 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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$4??  Wow, that has to be the deal of the century!  And better still, you saved it from going to the Goodwill...  


Kirby vacuums are not often seen up here - may it serve you well and for many years!!

Post# 953985 , Reply# 9   8/22/2017 at 08:41 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Thanks Paul!

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I know a retired Kirby salesman here. An honest one, because, let's face it - they did not all have the best reputation.

Kirby could easily have gone down the same path as Hoover or Dyson - good vacuums crippled by poor marketing decisions or awfully cheap plastic. Instead, they've managed to play in the big leagues while avoiding the crazy cat lady status of our Rainbow vacuums or the outrageously overpriced Filter Queens we like and use every day.

Still, they've had their share of problems, ones that are unacceptable in a machine in this price class.

The breaking plastic handles throughout the 'G' series.

The unpardonable clunkiness of a transmission which could easily serve a Peterbilt truck for 300,000 miles under load...but until the G5 couldn't move across a low-pile wool carpet without gnashing it's teeth and jumping, skipping and bouncing.

Self-destructing fans for far too many years after the problems with that plastic were known. Stuff like that.

Far too, too, exceedingly too heavy.


Still and all, they beat Dyson in every conceivable test, including the HEPA nonsense. They last forever. I wish they'd do one the size of the Model 51 through Sanitare line again. I guess they figure there's no need as the factory will provide a perfectly restored unit of any era.

Post# 953998 , Reply# 10   8/22/2017 at 09:12 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        
This talk of Kirby vacs

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has me interested now. Im not familiar with any vintage vacs. What model/age Kirby's would these be?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO ken's LINK on New York Craigslist

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This post was last edited 08/22/2017 at 11:53
Post# 954010 , Reply# 11   8/22/2017 at 09:53 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I have two Kirbys a G6 and a dual sanitronic 50. I use them both quite often.

Post# 954032 , Reply# 12   8/22/2017 at 12:22 by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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Post# 954098 , Reply# 13   8/23/2017 at 03:11 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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The red one is a Classic III and was made from 1976 to 1979 when they changed to my blue Tradition.

The brown one is either a Classic 1970 or Classic Omega 1973

source:  Kirby website


This post was last edited 08/23/2017 at 03:27
Post# 954101 , Reply# 14   8/23/2017 at 03:23 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Here are a few....there were more early 2C, 3C, and 4C as well as 500 series models listed but no pics.

1.  Model 1C from 1934-1937

2.  Model 505 from 1945-1946

3.  Model 510 from 1950-1951

4.  Model 516 from 1956-1957

5.  Dual Sanitronic 50 from 1965-1967

6.  Dual Sanitronic 80 from 1967-1970

7.  Classic from 1970-1973

8.  Classic Omega from 1973-1976

9.  Classic III from 1976-1979

10.  Tradition from 1979-1984

11.  Heritage I from 1981-1984

12.  Heritage II 1984-1987

      No Picture of Legend from 1987-1989

13.  Legend II from 1989-1990

14.  G3 from 1990-1993

15.  G4 from 1993-1997

16. G5 from 1997-1999

17. GSix from 1999-2002

18. Ultimate G from 2002-2003

19. Diamond Edition from 2003-2006

20. Sentria from 2006-2012


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This post was last edited 08/23/2017 at 04:54
Post# 954103 , Reply# 15   8/23/2017 at 04:50 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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1. Sentria II from 2012-2015

2. Avalir 2015-current

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Post# 954120 , Reply# 16   8/23/2017 at 07:55 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Thanks for the pics. Now I want one. How is the performance of the models from 40s-50s?

Post# 954121 , Reply# 17   8/23/2017 at 07:57 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
That was cool, thanks!

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One of the neat things about these is how well they work. I still think the 510/516 era was the prettiest of the modern Kirby's.

Post# 954156 , Reply# 18   8/23/2017 at 09:55 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I have owned three of them (currently have 2) and I feel that their cleaning abilty has never changed. I feel they are the best vacuum you can buy. My dc50 is 50 years old and cleans just as well as my G6.

Post# 954308 , Reply# 19   8/24/2017 at 06:25 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My neighbor had a Legend and my grandmother had a Heritage (my niece has it now).  I liked them but my favorite based on looks alone is my Tradition because it is blue...I love blue.  I've never used any older than the Tradition.

Post# 954361 , Reply# 20   8/24/2017 at 12:22 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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My Mom bought a Kirby model 516 from a lady that knocked on the front door when I was 5 yrs old. I remember vividly her whole demonstration, because I was always fascinated by vacuums.

The lady was very prim and proper and was wearing a suit, heels, hat and gloves. One particular feature I remember her touting was that the slot in the handle near the top could be used to deposit random coins that the user may find while vacuuming, thereby saving towards the monthly payments! I believe that my Mom ended up paying $400.00 for this Kirby and she used it from 1956 until 1989, and it was still working when my stepfather bought her a Riccar upright. In 1956 you could buy a very nice used car for $400.00, so Kirby's were always much more expensive than other vacuums, but well worth it.

Now my Mom certainly didn't have the dinero to pay for this Kirby. Initially, she thought she could use some of the grocery money to make the monthly payments.

I was sworn to secrecy to not tell my Dad about this Kirby that she didn't discuss with him prior to its purchase. But my Mom was always thinking! She got her hair done twice weekly in those days, and the monthly bill was sent to my Dad's Law office for payment. So Mom made an arrangement with her hairdresser, Bonnie to have her "pad" the bill and give the extra dollars to Mom so she could make her monthly Kirby payments.

This went on for at least a year or more before my Dad figured out what was going on. When I think about this its was alot like a scenario from "I Love Lucy", the most popular TV show at that time.

Housewives in the 50's needed to be inventive when they didn't have control of the families money, LOL. I recall that Mom used to be delighted to share this story of subterfuge with her friends.

Post# 954485 , Reply# 21   8/25/2017 at 16:52 by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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I have a Diamond G Ultimate Edition with the 2 speeds. It cleans and grooms the carpet well. I am not really a fan of uprights however as it is a pain to go back and forth from floor to above the floor cleaning and with Kirby's hose switchover process it makes it even more cumbersome. I only bring out the Kirby when I want to do a quick clean of the carpet only before guests arrive.


Post# 955078 , Reply# 22   8/28/2017 at 17:54 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I have the Kirby that belonged to my Aunt Doris. She and Uncle Joe were married in '49, and he bought it for her for their first aniversary. So it would be a '50 model, and a 510.

She told me that for many years they took it in to the Kirby Service Center every 5 years to have it serviced. They would do whatever work needed to be done, and polish it. The last time she had it totally refurbished, so it got the following new parts - cord, bag, brushroll, wheels, and trim such as handle grip and bumper strip. She said the new parts (tan) were a different color than the originals. This was probably about 15-20 years ago.

When I get the time, I would like to take it to the service center and have it polished again, as the metal has gotten dull looking.

Post# 955093 , Reply# 23   8/28/2017 at 18:40 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Best Vacuum For Carpeting

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My Whirlpool built central vac with electric power head.

No smell and zero dust emissions in the house.

Easily cleans under low furniture.

Lighter and easier to Handel.

Much less noise.

Ops somehow I got on Vacuum Land site ??

John L.

Post# 955113 , Reply# 24   8/28/2017 at 21:11 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Nope, John -

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Everybody is being pleasant. It most certainly can't be The Collector's Site which must not Be Named.

Post# 955154 , Reply# 25   8/29/2017 at 07:56 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
The switch works perfectly!

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Because the large Flair elements draw 2.65kW, it's important to have an indirect infinite control which works in that range. This brand new one does - it was made in late 2016, by the way - and it controls the element very well.

Perfect slot in, even the connections are in the exact same place as the originals from Proctor-Silex.

Not the best controls, ever, but let's hope, having made it 50+ years, they have a few more ahead of them.


And, of course, due to the generosity of a member, our '78 Maytag Center Dial is up and running perfectly. I am no fan of timer 'issues' and was very, very happy to receive the help!


So, now we have to decide what to do with the '60/'61. This now working Flair was to have been the 'parts-donor' but turned out to be in nearly perfect condition. On the one hand, it would be awful to throw away several hundred hours of work (my husband's, not mine) on it. On the other hand, looking at Ebay prices for trim and other parts.....

Post# 955165 , Reply# 26   8/29/2017 at 09:01 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Reply #20

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A case of 'Desperate Housewives of the 1950s'!

How did your dad react when he eventually found out?

Post# 955170 , Reply# 27   8/29/2017 at 09:44 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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to answer you question, when my Dad finally figured out what was going on with the Kirby I think he probably just paid it off, after first telling Mom to just ask next time if she really wanted something. I don't recall that there was a big blow out over it. But it sure gave Mom a fun story to tell over the years!

Post# 955176 , Reply# 28   8/29/2017 at 10:18 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        
Kirby & Regina Electrikbrooms

Kirby: I inherited a non-working one. A member here dx'd its needs being far beyond what was doable in my situation. Sold it on eBay to a young girl who was ecstatic. It was to be a centerpiece in a working mural that would let the owner store his appliances in plain sight, as a work of art. She had an elderly relative who owned a Kirby and the girl was smitten with them. She told me she had geek friend who'd LOVE to restore the Kirby for her.... She gave me her contact info and asked me to give her 6 months to finish the work. Alas, I've lost her card. 


Regina Electrikbroom. My mother had one she loved, although emptying the dust cup was a dramatic event the reasons for which I never understood. She lamented there were none with the "beater bar" the new carpeting required. A few years later (I was maybe 10?) I found one in a store and showed her. She wasn't interested. I don't recall her reason, just my wondering what the reason had to do with either vacuums or carpets.


I've an Electolux that meets my needs and is the quietest vacuum I've ever used. Still wouldn't pass up an Electikbroom with a power head if I came across one though....  

Post# 955243 , Reply# 29   8/30/2017 at 00:48 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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my mother had a blue Regina Electrikbroom too.

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